The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘family’

The Bed

October 13, 2016 | by

Photo: Magrethe Mather (1927).

Photo: Magrethe Mather, 1927.

Catherine Bowman’s poem “The Bed” first appeared in our Winter 1988 issue. Her latest collection is Can I Finish, Please?Read More »

Our Father Who Art in the Bronx, Our Mother Who Art Nowhere

October 12, 2016 | by

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski, via Flickr.

I’m standing inside the refrigerator door, playing three-card monte with the ketchup, the mustard, and one of those midget jars of tartar sauce. It’s an unoriginal con among seven-year-olds—pretending to rummage the fridge in order to eavesdrop—but it works, right up until the cold gets to be too much to bear.

In a last ditch effort to buy myself more time, I try to warm up by bouncing on the balls of my feet, leaving my hands free to continue the condiment-shuffle, but eventually I have no choice: I break down and start using my goose-bumped arms to rub my goose-bumped legs, even though I know that’ll be the tip-off.Read More »

The Book of Life

October 10, 2016 | by

Aunt Rose, right, et al., 1942.

In her book Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood recounts how she faked her own death, staging a car crash in the Philippines. My great-aunt Rose did something of that nature—if, admittedly, in the less dramatic mode of an aged Jewish lady with used tissues tucked into her sleeve and sagging, off-color support hose.

Rose’s ride to a wedding in Newark from Paterson showed up as planned, and as confirmed by her the week before. Somebody’s nephew. Rang, rang the bell. —No answer. —Upturned an ashcan in the alley, climbed and, clutching at the window ledge, peered in. 

Aunt Rose was gone. Read More »

Being a Bumpkin

October 10, 2016 | by

Three new books try to untangle the Gordian knot of white-trash identity.

From the cover of Hillbilly Elegy. 

Scan the headlines and you’ll find that everyone’s talking about how the white trash have made their presence felt. The white trash support Trump; the white trash are losing ground; the white trash should be honored by the government for their hard work and sacrifices; the white trash are continuing to redirect their aggression at other racial minorities instead of the robber barons who exploit them.

But who exactly are these people, these trashy whites who have found themselves, in the words of sociologist C. Wright Mills, “without purpose in an epoch in which they are without power?” Read More »

That’s Why We’re Running Away

August 30, 2016 | by

Sebastian Blanck’s new exhibition, “That’s Why We’re Running Away,” opened last week at Wetterling Gallery. Blanck, known for his intimate portraits of family and friends, has focused his latest work on landscape. The exhibition closes October 1. 

Sebastian Blanck, Blinding Light, 2016.

Sebastian Blanck, Blinding Light, 2016.

Read More »

Shanghai 1962

August 18, 2016 | by

How my mother’s accordion led to a chance encounter in Mao’s China.


For years my parents have told me about a photograph that shows my mother shaking hands with Zhou Enlai, the first premier of China under Mao Zedong. The photograph was taken in 1962, four years before the Cultural Revolution began, but it was lost until a few weeks ago, when a barrage of Instagram notifications, texts, e-mails, and WeChat messages alerted me that the picture had been found. It had turned up on Facebook, of all places, in a post detailing the history of my mother’s grade school in Shanghai. (A point of recent pride: Yao Ming, the basketball player, was a student at the same school, albeit decades later). An aunt of mine who lives in Hong Kong forwarded the picture to my father, who then distributed it across the Internet.

In the picture, my mother is fourteen. Her hair is in a low ponytail and she has an accordion strapped over her shoulders. She wears a checked knee-length skirt, a white blouse, white ankle socks, and Mary Janes. Several rows of Chinese flags fly in the background; in front of these stand many smiling girls holding bouquets of flowers. All eyes in the picture are on Zhou Enlai as he grips my mother’s hand. He’s tall and handsome, in a Mao suit and strappy sandals. Her smile is easy and uncalculated, bordering on surprise.Read More »